* Posts by bep

186 posts • joined 14 Mar 2011

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By the Rivers of Babylon, where the Antikythera Mechanism laid down

bep

Re: People back in the day...

We only know Plato said that because it was written down. The invention of writing and later printing was hugely important in the preservation and promulgation of knowledge.

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bep

Yep, it's a horseshoe

Where you place the gap in the shoe, up, down, left or right, depends on your own political outlook.

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Eat FATTY FOODS to stay THIN. They might even help your heart

bep

Good for you

I eat bread, pasta, rice, spuds and fruit (every night) minimal lard but plenty of olive oil, fish and vegies and I'm still 75kg, so I suspect 'eat a balanced diet' and not too much of it is probably pretty good advice after all. Not to mention the exercise (why doesn't anyone want to mention the exercise?).

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Mastercard and Visa to ERADICATE password authentication

bep

"The move to abolish passwords will no doubt be welcomed by customers. Today we have so many passwords to remember. As a result, most of us suffer from 'password fatigue' where we use obvious or reused passwords often written down on Post-it notes or saved in Excel files on laptops," he added.

Or kept in a password storing app if you've got half a brain. Instead I will now have to have a mobile phone that works everywhere if I want to make Visa purchases. This proved a little bit tricky for me when I was in Brazil recently. The current system works fine for me, and if Visa or anyone else thinks I'm going to give a private company any biometric information about me they are out of their minds.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg

bep

Ghastly

The one thing you don't go to an English website for is advice about food.

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Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD TO DIE, and this is WHY

bep

I would happily replace my current Nano (Christmas present) with one with a click-wheel like the original. Touch screen interfaces are a huge step backward for this sort of device.

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RUMPY PUMPY: Bone says humans BONED Neanderthals 50,000 years B.C.

bep

Re: The Neanderthal must have been really drunk...

Sorry, but it seems to me that nothing you have said alters the fact that Neanderthals and more modern humans had fertile offspring and so were the same species, just as a dachsund and a pitt bull are the same species. If two ducks that could interbreed and have fertile offspring are for some reason regarded as different species then that is a taxonomy problem. I mean, if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck...

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'Theoretical' Nobel economics explain WHY the tech industry's such a damned mess

bep

Unfortunately

"Tirole's biggest finding is that the correct answer is, as the correct answer so often is in economics, “it depends”. We need to look at the details of that specific market and see how changing regulation and oversight would actually impact upon current behaviour, before we can decide what, if anything, should be done."

Since economics isn't a real empirical science no one can do that. You can estimate, predict or just guess, but you won't know until you try. You might then adjust the regulations if they aren't working as expected, but again you won't know the actual result of doing that until you actually do it. I'm not suggesting that all regulation is pointless, just that the basic premise of this particular argument is faulty.

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White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?

bep

Re: Let there be light!

Not to mention that many of us live in parts of the world where heating is rarely used but air-conditioning is used a lot. Anything that reduces the heat generated by home lighting will tend to reduce the need for air-conditioning. I can't see any downside to that.

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4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch

bep

Re: On being slowly boiled alive with video standards

Don't forget the cables. You have to use HDMI with Blu-ray. When I connected my new Blu-ray player to my HD telly via HDMI cables and played a Blu-ray disc, the sound kept skipping. The sound in DVDs skipped too. When I connected the Blu-ray player to the telly with component cables, no sound skipping. Of course I couldn't play my one and only Blu-ray disc anymore, but the video quality seemed much the same to me and I don't like being treated like a pirate anyway, so bye-bye Blu-ray until something really compelling that actually plays reliably comes along.

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Every billionaire needs a PANZER TANK, right? STOP THERE, Paul Allen

bep

Re: Picking the nit...

As General Omar Bradley observed, the Allies willingness to expend Shermans was scant comfort to the crews who had to expend themselves as well.

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Got your NUDE SELFIES in the cloud? Two-factor auth's your best bet for securing them

bep

Re: So we'll all have

or if you are travelling and you don't like wearing your phone company's roaming charges. I generally buy a local sim when travelling if I'm staying long enough to justify it, but of course that means you have a new mobile number, which leads to conversations like this:

"Oh, you want to change your personal details. No problem, we'll just text you a one-time passcode and you'll be able to log in to you account...oh".

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Apple's ONE LESS THING: the iPod Classic disappears

bep

Re: So, for people like me that still get good use out of theirs

The first sign of that was the original Walkman, which came out how long ago? Unlike the early iPods, it also had a radio.

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Limits to Growth is a pile of steaming doggy-doo based on total cobblers

bep

Re: Doing More With Less

But it depends on what you call civilization, doesn't it? At the moment we are building lots of stuff while simultaneously significantly polluting the planet and driving hundreds of plant and animal species to extinction. Does doing what you've always been doing constitute civilization, or should that term imply a continuous increase in knowledge and good outcomes for the whole planet?

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Privacy law reboot needed says Oz Law Reform Commission

bep

Accessible?

The law should be accessible, full stop. Once you have laws structured as proposed, with various exceptions available, each breach has to be decided on a case by case basis which means barristers, solicitors, and money. So 'privacy' will be 'accessible' for rich celebrities, politicians and businessmen, but not for Joe Bloggs (did I just miss the Clapham Omnibus?).

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Boeing CEO says no more 'moonshots' after 787 Dreamliner ordeal

bep

From an end user's perspective

It doesn't make a lot of difference to me. The current generation of passenger jets is pretty similar to the previous generation in that I get where I'm going at much the same time feeling just as lousy. A Mach 2 airliner that worked with reasonable economy would be a 'moonshot'. The current jets, not so much.

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Google updates Maps app for iOS, Android, adds Uber support

bep

Ummm...

"You've been able to save maps for offline use for a while, but it's never been the easiest function to use. The upgrade adds a saved maps icon on the screen, and maps can now be saved under specific names to make finding them easier and can be accessed on multiple devices."

Am I missing something here? How do you use maps you've cached on one device on 'multiple devices.'?

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Apple to flush '£37bn' down the bog if it doesn't flog cheapo slabtops

bep

Maybe ask Asus instead

I believe the Transformers are selling OK. Alright I'm biased because I have one, but the lesson is that if it's properly designed and priced right it might sell. i'm no big fan of analysts myself but he might be suggesting that many people have an iPad and a Windows PC. If so then a hybrid device won't cannibalise sales so much. Getting the design and software right is everything.

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Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars

bep

Pedant alert

It's 'Mary Celeste' folks. Just so you know next time.

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Nokia: ALL our Windows Phone 8 Lumias will get a cool 8.1 boost

bep

Re: $599

Indeed, and where you are now in the Android space is not much of an indicator of where you will be in 12 months time. Witness how the Moto G seems to have revitalised Motorola's fortunes after they seemed to be heading nowhere. If you bring out the right handset at the right price then Android users will take their apps and run. HTC might therefore be going OK - a quality flagship phone can give a halo effect for your cheaper offerings, even if no one actually buys the expensive model.

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NSW to expand e-voting

bep

Re: Democracy is too important

I'm pretty much with you on this one, and as a NSW voter I have personal interest in this one, but unfortunately the electoral commission's loss of a small number of paper ballots from the last Senate election has only strengthened the arm of those pushing for electronic ballots. That loss has had an impact far out of proportion to the number of ballot papers lost, since they will have to run the whole election again. That's the price of democracy, I guess, but a lot of people can't be bothered to pay it and would much rather use their i-device of choice to pick their least-disliked pollie.

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Planes fail to find 'credible' candidate for flight MH370 wreckage

bep

Re: @p_0

One possibility I haven't seen mentioned is a sudden emergency (fire, rapid decompression) that knocked out or disoriented one of the pilots but not the other. The remaining pilot would then have a lot on his plate and communicating might have not been a priority, especially if the other pilot was still awake but behaving erratically. In this scenario they could have violently disagreed on what action to take and both started doing things that hampered the other.

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

bep

Re: "The satellite would thus know to keep one of its receiving assemblies aligned..."

I agree the communication has been very poor but it highlights a continuing problem. If I were a media rep with sufficient funds I'd hire the best translator I could and go to the press conferences given in the languages these officials speak at home - Bahasa Malaysia. I'd then get the replies translated. Plenty of people in Asia speak good international English but that isn't necessarily good enough to deal with highly technical issues in a highly emotional environment with an international press corps, many of whom aren't native English speaker either. I have Malaysian relatives and have been there plenty of times so I have some idea what I'm talking about. I'm quite sure some of these communication breakdowns are things that have been lost in translation. The assumption that 'everyone speaks English' is unfortunate for all involved.

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bep

Re: Here's more sensible analysis...

This seems fairly plausible to me. Penang airport is not far from Langkawi either, and there is still a military airport at Butterworth I think, all pretty close together. I note that recent reports have changed the status of the reporting systems from 'deliberately turned off' to 'ceased transmitting', which is a significant clarification in this context.

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20 Freescale staff on vanished Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

bep

Well, you think you do

but you probably don't, if you are like the vast majority of drivers, as plenty of studies have shown. The more you drive, the more likely you are to become complacent. And you really can't do much about the person who has just had a heart attack in the car coming towards you.

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Global Warming IS REAL, argues sceptic mathematician - it just isn't THERMAGEDDON

bep

Insurance

Follow the money. There is healthy scientifice debate and plenty of public skepticism about global warming but the insurance industry is in little doubt and that is reflected in premiums. Funnily enough, most of the people involved in the insurance industry are pretty good at this statistical stuff. They aren't betting against global warming and I'd suggest that you don't either. Local effects are another matter and individuals are notoriously unreliable in knowing whether it's got hotter or colder or wetter or dryer in their locality over the years. What do the insurance companies covering your area think is going to happen?

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X-rated Android antics: Motorola's Moto X puts boot in chunky brother

bep

I was a little surprised by this statement:

"The big difference between the X and the G is in the screen tech. The X uses a RGB-matrix AMOLED panel to the G’s IPS LCD. This means it is more vivid, shows blacker blacks and is easier to read in direct sunlight."

Were the two phones actually compared by the reviewer in direct sunlight? My experience with a Samsung Galaxy 3 is precisely the opposite; the Galaxy's amoled screen is virtually impossible to read in direct sunlight (in Australia anyway).

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Massive new AIRSHIP to enter commercial service at British dirigible base

bep

Re: They almost laughed him out of the boardroom...

I second this motion. Given the number of people happy to cruise down the Rhine on an enlarged barge, shirley there would be punters happy to fly slowly down the Rhine at 50 knots or so? Paris to Venice by airship? I should cocoa! Apparently the airship travel experience is incomparable, why not give people the chance to enjoy it?

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Qantas' biggest problems are … Apple, Samsung and Google?

bep

Re: Anyone else notice?

This is standard operating procedure for airlines everywhere. For example, compare fares from the USA to South America and vice versa. There is no logic whatever to airfares, and if there is it is that the fares will be whatever the locals can afford to pay. Try flying to Brazil for the World Cup, for example, and you will even find situations where flying the second leg of a two-leg flight costs MORE than the full trip. Crazy stuff.

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bep

On the other hand

I recently booked some long-haul flights and I deliberately paid a (admittedly small) premium to go on the national carrier of a small Asian island state rather than a middle-eastern carrier that is a Qantas partner. This was owing to a nightmare experience on said carrier, which is somehow very highly rated, and first-hand experience that the stop-over airport did not match the publicity shots. The entertainment system helps, but it doesn't make any difference to flight delays or other shambles.

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The UNTOLD SUCCESS of Microsoft: Yes, it's Windows 7

bep

Re: What the hell did they expect?

I quite often use a full-featured PC to browse the internet. Meanwhile my partner did a work assignment yesterday on her iPad (with bluetooth keyboard and cover/stand). There is no single use case for a particular kind of device. That's where Microsoft has gone wrong. The software needs to be able to detect if it's connected to a touch screen, ditto a keyboard, and deliver a suitable experience for that hardware setup.They need to stop trying to guess how people might choose to use their devices.

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Ganymede map helps reveal satellite's secrets

bep

Dynamical?

Is that a word, and if so why is it a better word than 'dynamic'?

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Sony to close North American ebook store, punt customers to Kobo

bep

Another one bites the dust

Another company that made good hardware but never got its Windows software sorted. I'm another who has a Sony eReader, I've been buying books from Kobo for ages since the Sony store never worked in Australia.

The Sony software works kind-of, as long as you have Adobe Digital Editions running as well. With that combo you can usually load the Kobo books onto the device OK, and in my experience it's the only way to ensure you get the book covers and so on looking as they should in the library. But the software has always been buggy and it's more of a faff than it should be.

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UK picks Open Document Format for all government files

bep

PDF

A locked PDF file is a lot harder to edit than a Word file. There is a clear need for government to have access to a format which allows them to say that this is the final, official version of this document. PDF is suitable for that purpose. This is a quite different need than a format to be used for collaboration or a format to be used for raw data that can be re-used in databases and applications.

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Japanese quantum boffins 'may have the key to TELEPORTATION'

bep

Re: I think I speak for most when I say...

I think I've discovered a quantum effect: articles discussing quantum mechanics make my brain hurt before I start reading them.

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bep

Re: How the hell do you squeeze a vacuum?

Well of course, that's easy for you to say.

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Big tech firms holding wages down? Marx was right all along, I tell ya!

bep

Re: Competition

Well yes it would, and in fact classical economics also shows markets tending to oligopoly in the long run if there are significant barriers to entry. Just about every major market you can think of that has been left to its own devices has descended into a cosy cartel of cigar-chomping millionaires dividing up the spoils amongst themselves. The only thing that stops it happening is that they tend to be super-egotists who hate each other, but it's rather unwise to rely on that. That's why laws against colusion and abuse of monopoly power are necessary and why they need to actually be enforced.

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Almost everyone read the Verizon v FCC net neutrality verdict WRONG

bep

Re: Stop humouring us, Net Neutrality doesn't exist, and probably never will again.

I think the net neutrality rules apply within the USA. The rest of the world can, and is, making its own arrangements.

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Boeing bent over for new probe as 787 batteries vent fluid, start to MELT

bep

Pardon?

If the batteries are in Boeing's planes then it is Boeing's problem.

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Intel and Asus put the dual boot in, offer 2-in-1 lapslab WinDroid

bep

Re: @Charlie Clark The mighty have fallen half way

I've got a Transformer as well and it works pretty well, but there are still some applications for which I'll power up the PC and some websites which work poorly on all the Android browsers but work OK on their Windows versions. So for those reasons I'd be tempted by one of these, although price is of course the critical factor. It looks like it will be well over a grand in Australian money, which is probably a bit rich for me.

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Judge orders Yelp.com to unmask anonymous critics who tore into biz

bep

Re: Be careful what you claim

Defamation law, as I understand it, is meant to protect the reputation of an individual person. The idea that you can defame a company is ludicrous and I'm astounded that no one else has mentioned this distinction.

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Oracle: Our figures say hardware has flatlined, but we assure you it hasn't

bep

No comments on the tortured headline?

'It's' is an abbreviation for 'it is'. I don't know what that headline is, but it aint' English, pardner.

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IBM turns plastic bottles into life-saving 'ninja' MRSA, fungus fighters

bep

Can you put this stuff on your toenails?

If so then the drug companies might actually produce it in large quantities.

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World's OLDEST human DNA found in leg bone – but that's not the only boning going on...

bep

Bill Bailey would have your guts for garters

I believe it was actually the other bloke who coined the term 'survival of the fittest'. Darwin preferred the term 'survival of the best adapted'.

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Samsung hauls in chiefs for 'CRISIS awareness' confab – report

bep

Re: Pulled upgrades...

I agree that the long-term Android experience can be rather poor. That doesn't encourage anyone to buy a new Android handset from the same manufacturer, regardless of the specs. That's why it's important for the manufacturers to make sure their upgrades on current handsets are bullet-proof. Most punters aren't interested in custom ROMs.

Samsung also have a fairly bewildering range of handsets at different price points. Some of the bigger phones are a lot cheaper that the S4. So I think they may be canabalising their own sales. Meanwhile Sony have a much simpler product line, although I don't think they are doing so great at the moment either.

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Antidote for poisonous Aussie Red-Back Spider venom DOESN'T WORK

bep

Re: A different experience..

My partner was bitten on the toe by a redback and she was given the anti-venom. The possibly limited effectiveness was well known to the nurses and the doctor and discussed with her (she is a nurse) but they recommended in her case she should have it and she agreed. She had the pain, swelling, localised sweating and reslessness for about 24 hours then the symptoms subsided. Plenty of locals apparently don't bother going to hospital when they get bit, which is maybe not too wise.

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Google Earth SHOCK: ZERO point ZERO ZERO SIX of world forests disappear each year

bep

e.g. Malaysia

For what used to be an interesting train trip, try the one from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. Not much variety these days; palm oil plantation followed by palm oil plantation as far as the eye can see. Just because it looks green from a distance doesn't mean it is good. Some of the locals will tell you the palm oil plantations are just replacing the old rubber plantations, but I don't think that's the half of it.

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Australia's Electoral Commission won't release vote-counting code

bep

Easycount

"Three million three hundred and fifty thousond three hundred and one; three million three hundred and fifty thousand three hundred and two, three million three hundred and fifty thousand three hundred and three."

"Cup ot tea George?"

"Lovely, white and one please!"

"Um, um...bugger! ....one, two, three..."

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Post-PC era? Post-MAC era! OS X Mavericks 'upgrade' ruins iWorks

bep

Proofreading

Is proofreading really forbidden? Given that it is axiomatic that you can't proof read your own copy I find that astoiunding. Of course there are people who think they can proof their own copy, but they are worng (see what I did there? Did I make any other non-deliberate mistakes - probably). Do lecturers enjoy reading essays with lots of typos?

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Brit boffins trap light in Lego-like lumps

bep

Re: This is why the UK Governments PV subsidy is stupid

Perhaps it would be better to use land that isn't being used for growing food at the moment.

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